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Newsletter 1st Sunday of Advent

Dear Parishioners

Happy New Church Year! Today we start to look forward to the celebration of our Saviour’s birth and our Advent Gospel tells us to stay awake and be ready to greet the Lord. Being awake means looking at our lives and responding to the many opportunities which present themselves to us of coming closer to the Lord, through prayer and worship, and of serving him by serving others.

Advent is a period of preparation for the celebration of our Saviour’s birth. Due to the Covid 19 this year Santa is asking that rather than buy a present for children in need you can give a gift cards/tokens in its place. These can be brought to Mass on the Third Sunday of Advent (December 13th) and I will ensure that they arrive at Santa’s Grotto in time for distribution to children whose only gift might be of necessity food or clothes, but certainly of love!

As you will all be aware the current lockdown ceases on 2nd December and we are in Tier Two, so on Wednesday morning at 10.00am we can gather socially distanced in Church for Mass. The Tier restrictions for Worship are:

Tier One: Open, but cannot interact with more than six people.

Tier Two: Can only interact indoors with your own households, but outdoors can interact in groups of up to 6 

Tier Three: Can only interact with your own household both indoors and outdoors 

Our parish arrangements for Christmas will be announced shortly and it has been recommended that for the Christmas Day Masses we should use a “booking” system to prevent overcrowding, so ”watch this space” !

Apologies for streaming problems with Mass last weekend I just don’t know what happened although it may have been a loose connection somewhere.

With Prayers and Advent Blessings,

Fr. Keith.

NATIONAL SHARED MOMENT OF PRAYER Each evening at 6.00pm during this time of Lockdown we are asked to join in a shared moment of prayer. Perhaps pray an Our Father, Hail Mary and a Glory Be, praying for an end to this pandemic and for all whose lives have been turned upside down by its effects. Remember all those who are caring for the vulnerable, the sick and the suffering, the dying and the bereaved. Pray also for those who are working to deliver a vaccine that will keep Covid19 at bay.

CERTIFICATE OF CATHOLIC PRACTISE All Catholic Schools in Westminster Diocese and Brentwood, be they Primary or Secondary, will be asking for a Certificate of Catholic Practise to be provided by their Parish Priest (or priest where they regularly attend Mass) certifying that both parent(s) and child attend Mass regularly as required by the church. If you meet these requirements and need a certificate, please email: keithstoakes@rcdow.org.uk. with “CoCP” in the subject line, giving your child’s name, address, date of birth, and the Mass you normally attend. During Lockdown Forms can be collected from Clergy House (outside of the Livestreamed Mass times). Fr. Keith has a number of Certificates and also a number of Baptismal Certificates that await collection, some going back a number of years. If any of the above applies to you please call at clergy house outside livestreamed Mass times to collect them. Certificates for our 2020 RCIA Group will be ready for collection soon.

FIRST HOLY COMMUNION 2021 December meetings will take place as planned this coming week/weekend in Church Sr. Christine will be in touch with each “Bubble”

CONFIRMATION 2020 will take place both here and at Limehouse early in the New Year— when Covid permits!

RCIA COURSE Next meeting Wednesday 9th December at 7.00pm in the Guild Room. Adults enquiring about the Faith, or need preparation for Communion or Confirmation are welcome.

NOVEMBER is the month of the Holy Souls when we remember all our departed loved ones. Envelopes have been available but if you did not collect one just write “November Dead” on an envelope and drop it in the Clergy House Letterbox and lists will then be placed before the Altar. In the Weekday Chapel.

OFFERTORY COLLECTION Whether by Direct Debit, Standing Order, Offertory Envelope, Virgin Money Giving Function on the parish website or by physical cash donations in the Offertory Box, and through Clergy House letterbox thank you for your continued financial support. Thanks also to all who by gift aiding your donation enables the parish to claim .25p from the tax man for every pound given at no extra cost to yourself.

NEIGHBOURS IN POPLAR—COVID-19 Response Project: We continue to deliver meals to the housebound and vulnerable on Sunday’s And Wednesday’s, thanks to our magnificent volunteers. More Deliveroo Angels to deliver the plated meals are needed. Come to St. Matthias Community Centre, 113 Poplar High Street between 11:45 – 12:30pm are needed, especially on Wednesdays. We hope to keep going until the New Year, or as long as required. If you know of anyone who could do with a lift, please let us know on: 0207 987 0257 or email: nip65@msn.com.

PARISH WHAT’S APP GROUP —called “Parish Group Chat” just provide your name and number to Sr. Christine at Neighbours in Poplar (see above) to be added to Whatsapp chat (Please spread the word). So far this has been going very well. We are interested in getting people to help with being Telephone Befrienders, cooking a meal for someone and baking cakes. Also delivering shopping. 

SICK AND RETIRED CLERGY FUND The collection for this fund should have taken place on November 9th by which time we had gone into the second lockdown. As we come out of lockdown on Wednesday any donations can be placed into the Offertory Box next Sunday (7th December) Special envelopes are available but you can use your own and just write Sick and Retired Clergy” on it. Most priests offer their resignation at 75 but many continue to serve in our parishes, schools etc. The fund gives peace of mind that should an emergency occur their needs can be met. You can go to the Diocesan website to find out how to donate on line. Thank you.

GOVERNMENT CONSULTATION ON FAITH ENGAGEMENT There has been a strong request from officials for individual Catholics to respond to this open consultation on the way Government engages with faith communities.  The link to the online submission is:
https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/independent-faith-engagement-review-call-for-evidence
This call for evidence aims to collect views to underpin the Faith Engagement Review. This opened on 13th November and will run for a period of four weeks closing at 11:45pm on 11 December 2020. Please do take part in this important consultation.
 
CHRISTMAS—THE TRUE MEANING As you send Christmas Cards to Friends and loved ones please try and ensure that your cards reflect the true meaning of Christmas, not snowmen and robins but the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ. Our repository is well stocked with cards and religious gifts.

CATHOLIC BISHOPS CONFERENCE WEBSITE has news of their work and of events around the country, go to: ccn@cbcew.org.uk There has been a recent photographic project of empty churches during lockdown and the photographer was here last week so our church may well feature.

PRAYERS PLEASE FOR: Those of our parish who are sick: at home or in Hospital– especially for Sean Fox; Peace: in our troubled world; Our Country: Our Government, NHS and frontline workers fighting Covid-19; For all who are poor; All Refugees; Our Parish Family: especially our Young People, for all those who are self isolating and those who find themselves unemployed; Our Diocese: especially our Bishops; Our Deanery: Underwood Road Parish and the Brazilian Chaplaincy; Those who have died recently, Sister Anne Cooney FCJ and Sarah Carroll and for all whose anniversaries occur about this time and for all whose names are on our November lists.

A Spiritual Communion

During the difficult times that we are facing it may not always be possible to receive the Lord in Holy Communion. In these circumstances we can turn to a long held Catholic understanding that when conditions prevent us from receiving Holy Communion, it is possible to make an Act of Spiritual Communion.

Spiritual Communion is something that may not be familiar to some people. It was once defined by St Thomas Aquinas as “an ardent desire to receive Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament and in lovingly embracing Him as if we had actually received Him.”

So Spiritual Communion is a source of grace that acknowledges our great desire to receive our Lord at a time or in circumstances when we cannot receive Him in sacramental Communion.

The most common reason for making an Act of Spiritual Communion is when a person cannot attend Mass. Acts of Spiritual Communion can help to strengthen us in times of trial and to remind us that whatever the circumstances we are held in the loving embrace of our beloved Lord.

Spiritual Communion Prayer

My Jesus,
I believe that you are present in the Holy Sacrament of the altar.
I love you above all things
and I passionately desire to receive you into my soul.
Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally,
come spiritually into my soul
so that I may unite myself wholly to you now and forever. Amen.

Based on a prayer of St Alphonsus Liguori

Article published on St. Georges Cathedral, Southwark Diocese Website

Mass on Radio and a Poster

For those not on the internet RTE Radio are broadcasting Mass on 252 long wave. Please share this verbally with those who may not have access to the web. You might also print of the schedule for them. I understand that the full quota of Holy Week ceremonies will be broadcast on RTE. More detail is available from roger.childs@rte.ie.

An initiative has been launched (one of many!) to invite Christians to put a poster in their windows as a sign of faith and trust in the Lord in these troubled times. It is attractive and obtainable at this link: www.cte.org.uk/prayersofhope. Perhaps print a poster and show it in the street window of your home. It could well encourage those who are downhearted.

On Line Resources for this time of isolation

During this time of isolation, more than ever we are turning to modern technology to help us keep ourselves grounded in our Catholic faith.

If you Google: Universalis
You will find an app which is a combined Mass Book and Divine Office Book (the daily prayer of the church used by priests, religious and increasingly lay people alike.) There is a free 30 day trial and if you find this useful you can purchase the app for a one off subscription. It is certainly one of the most used apps on my iPad, especially when attending Mass in a foreign language!

Listed below are a number of links you may find useful.

Sycamore have generously offered Open Access to their resources for the next 6 months. Full details at this link:
https://mailchi.mp/8336abe00691/sycamore-october-updates-12239406?e=30beeb9473
Sycamore material will be particularly helpful with RCIA groups and Confirmation candidates

For family support, TenTen are also making freely available resources for families, called Prayers for Home, which include ‘Sunday Liturgy for Families’ and ‘Daily Prayers for Home’

Sunday Liturgy for Families

Daily Prayers for Home

Just a reminder, also of the CAFOD Children’s Liturgy session for this week. The link to register is:
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5095942131288155403
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar